However, executing a killer kick or a spotlight kick--which is similar to the killer kick, except it's a little less powerful and it doesn't require energy from the meter--doesn't automatically mean you'll score a goal. In fact, the keeper will still block the majority of these shots, but you'll actually almost want the keeper to block the more powerful shots. Every time you take a shot on goal and the keeper manages to block it, you'll knock off a piece of his armor, which makes him tire. The more powerful the shot, the more armor it will knock off, so it's worthwhile to hold down the shot button to execute a stronger basic shot. Of course, there are times when you'll be able to completely dominate the opposing team, so it won't really matter, but in tough matches, it pays to take a few solid shots right at the keeper.
In keeping with its over-the-top theme, Sega Soccer Slam's graphics are highly stylized and almost comic-book-like in presentation. From the British rocker Half Pint to the luchador El Diablo, the character designs are incredibly well done, and they give each player in the game plenty of personality. The hidden characters (which include robots!) are equally appealing and also fit in quite well with the game. Likewise, the players' facial expressions and animations are a pleasure to see. There are also plenty of small details that add to the overall visual quality of the game. For example, the field becomes worn and will turn brown as players continually trample over particular sections. Also, when you execute the speed and shot boost, you'll notice that each team has a distinct effect to signify the boost. The members of team Tsunami will turn into water and small splashes will fly off the ball as you dribble down the field. Similarly, players on team Spirit will turn purple and cause small skulls made out of mist to appear while moving with the ball.
While the characters look great, the three default stadiums really aren't much to look at. While it's worth noting that portions of the stadiums have a polygonal crowd, the three default stadiums are still pretty bland. However, the unlockable stadiums look much better, and they generally fall more in line with the theme of the game. In any case, the Xbox version looks identical to its GameCube counterpart, so while you won't see a huge amount of polygons being pushed around on the screen, the artistic style more then makes up for that.
...but its artistic style is quite unique for a game of this type.
Soccer Slam's sound functions as effectively as the graphics do in providing the characters with lots of personality. Each character has a unique theme to accompany his individual goal celebration--Angus from team Volta has a unique bagpipe theme, while Dante from the same team has more of an Italian operatic theme. The trash talking between players is also done well, with plenty of different one-liners, and the commentary does an effective job of calling the basic onscreen action.
Sega Soccer Slam was a highly entertaining game when it first appeared on the GameCube, and the extras that Sega has added to the Xbox version make it even better. The expanded lineup of characters and the few additional modes of play unquestionably help prolong the life of the game. Xbox owners interested in a fast-paced, funny sports game with plenty of personality and deceptively deep gameplay shouldn't think twice about picking up Soccer Slam.